Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Matrix of Immigration

I will suggest that in the conversation around  immigration, we recognize that it is a complex matrix of interests and concerns.  Just a for instance: we'll do well to avoid a simplistic scriptural approach.  While Jesus directs his followers to love neighbor as oneself, he also directs them to be shrewd as snakes while remaining innocent as doves.  Human traffickers ruthlessly prey upon victims on both sides of the border.  To pretend that all who cross borders illegally are innocents is a  dangerous denial of the truth of the matter.  This denial costs human lives  of a variety of national origin. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Absence of unanimity is a blessed thing

There is no unanimity among the autonomous and autocephalous Churches of the Anglican Communion. As each of these Churches is by definition a Protestant denomination, not a church, but denomination, there should be no expectation of unanimity. The very recent expectation of same is an anomaly to the history of the development of what has become the Anglican Communion. Only since people have begun to speak of the Anglican Communion as though it were 'the Anglican Church' have people been steered into thinking of these Churches as though they all comprised a Roman Catholic Church writ small; i.e. a single world-wide Church with a single authoritative head in the Archbishop of Canterbury. Reminder to all: the ABC is not our Pope. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rector's Study April 2010

From the Rector’s Study ~
Following a season of introspection come this season of Easter. It is a season as well as a day. And it is a way of life as well as a season. Scholar and author John MacQuarrie observes in his book The Faith of the People of God that, “Most important of all the events in the life Christ was its end – his sufferings and death.” He rightly notes that, “All the Gospels devote much of their space to a detailed account of his last days and hours.” But he goes on to observe that, “The death of Jesus is an impressive and significant event, but according to the testimony of the Gospels, it was not the end of the story. They go on to tell of the resurrection of Christ. This last event…differs from the preceding ones because it is much more difficult to say what the historical fact was.” Whatever those facts may be, as MacQuarrie notes, “it does seem quite certain that there never would have been any rise of the people of God [i.e. Christians] if that people has not been convinced that Jesus was risen.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Education for clergy

I think the question is: What does the Church wish to sustain as the norm for the education and preparation of its clergy? There are always exceptional persons with exceptional circumstance who follow a path outside what seems to be the norm. Those of us who have attended seminaries or divinity schools know well that most of the people attending have come there in routes there were more circuitous than linear. There really is no norm in practical experience. However, the Church needs to be clear about its expectations for the normal preparations and education for clergy. Otherwise, who is to say?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Short cuts around Semiary

While I understand and appreciate the financial restrictions on seminary education, I would suggest the Church respond cautiously rather than react hastily in turning to alternative methods of training of clergy. My understanding is that clergy are to be educated more than than trained. I think the distinction is meaningful.

I was fortunate to attend a university for an undergraduate degree in biblical studies, with a biblical and classical Greek emphasis, cramming the equivalent of five years instruction into three and half. I received a fine education. I then attended another university for my M.Div. with the permission of the bishop of the diocese at that time. I took classes at a local Episcopal Church seminary as well, along with classes at a Jesuit theological school and personal studies at a Greek Orthodox seminary. In addition, I benefited from the fact that all the Divinity School classes were university classes, spread across many of the schools of the university. This way, most of the classes were open to and usually attended by university students, not only those of us preparing for ordained ministry. In addition, students from the consortium of theological schools in the area, a total of eight at the time, were able to take many of the classes being offered at each of the schools respectively. It all made the experience much richer.